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Egypt says 10 killed in attack outside Cairo church

30 December 2017

Two unidentified gunmen killed nine people as they opened fire early Friday on a church south of Cairo, ahead of Coptic Christian celebrations next week, Egypt's state TV and health ministry said.

The UK Guardian cites Egyptian media sources that say at least one attacker was able to flee the scene, while another was overpowered and restrained by police and bystanders.

Coptic churches in Egypt are often attacked.

Two police officers were among those killed, reports said.

According to the statement, attackers opened fire at a household appliances shop, then headed to the church, where they attempted to trespass the church's perimeter security.

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The officials said a gunman opened fire outside a Coptic church before he was shot dead himself.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that nine people - including a Muslim and eight Christians - had been killed, in addition to the gunman, and five injured.

The so-called Islamic State group said it was behind the attack.

Also, the Italian Embassy in Egypt strongly condemned Friday's heinous attack in Helwan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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On Friday night, bodies of the six victims from the bloody attack arrived at the district's archbishopric for the official funeral, covered with Egyptian flags and were received by their families, while a number of official figures were present.

A video circulated on social media after the attack appeared to show the dead gunman on the ground. Authorities closed off the area around the church. It showcased a deadly December attack on the church adjacent to Cairo's Saint Mark's Cathedral.

The local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack late Friday, saying it was carried out by a "security detail" and that one of its men was "martyred" in the strike.

Pope Tawadros II says that since 2013 there have been 37 sectarian attacks on Christians in Egypt, almost one incident per month.

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Egypt says 10 killed in attack outside Cairo church